I have some interesting facts to share with you, but first some history.
In 1989, a group of Oshkosh churches (including Wesley UMC) joined together to operate the Ecumenical Food Pantry, located in Trinity Episcopal Church. The pantry started in a 12’ x 25’ room in the basement.
Over the years, as the number of customers receiving services from the Ecumenical Pantry grew, Trinity Episcopal offered more space for its operations. Seven churches supported the work of the Pantry through donations of volunteers, money, in kind donations as well as their prayers. Many community leaders concluded that hunger and food insecurity could no longer be satisfied by government programs and church groups alone.
A new non-profit agency, the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry was formed to address the community needs. The OACP has formed a partnership with Saint Vincent de Paul Society to lease space on the current site at 2551 Jackson Drive.
Using a volunteer staff drawn primarily from the participating churches and relying on the donations of the community, the OACP has served a steadily increasing food insecure population in Oshkosh and surrounding areas. In 2019 they served 17,420 customers, making it the largest food pantry in the community. The OACP does not require proof of income to receive food.
The mission of the OACP is to establish a collative community food pantry which addresses the food and nutritional needs of their customers, identify and evaluate their customer’s broader needs and to provide access to other community resources that foster independence. Based on the size of the household, customers receive a number of points that they canuse for groceries and personal items at the OACF.
Total household visits were 17,420 (does not include community distribution) Monthly average: 1,452
Total people reached: 42,809 Monthly average: 3,567
Total pounds distributed: 1,062,843 lbs. Monthly average: 88,570
School & Community distribution: 35,673 Monthly average: 2,973
For every dollar that is donated, the OACP can buy 5 lbs of food from Feeding America via the cost of delivery and administration.
It takes around 16,000 volunteer hours a year to run the OACP, which is about 1333 volunteers a month.
These numbers are greatly underestimated as their recording process was in the development stage. The above program numbers are estimated to be 50% less than actual. Last year they served all of the schools in OASD.
For 2020 . . . they have increased their School & Community/external distribution by 832% (27,701 lbs per month in 2020 versus 2,937 lbs in 2019)
For 2020 . . . internal distribution has dipped 14% from last year due greatly to COVID 19 in causing people to be afraid of going into the pantry and their literal shutdown of all internal services for a few months in the spring. Also, clients have utilized their services a little less this year because of the government stimulus packages, which gave them money to buy food.
The OACP believes the need is increasing due to two factors,
1. The above mentioned external delivery has increased over 800% to the schools, churches, Heroes of Oshkosh home deliveries etc.
2. When the stimulus money from the government (1 time relief and extra unemployment) runs out, their clients will have less money to purchase food directly from the grocery store and will be in greater need for the OACP services.